One of the ways to dismantle systemic racism in schools is to require racial literacy programs for white teachers — to catch our own presuppositions in midair and hold them out. I have been trained to believe as a white woman that I have a biological deficit to speak with credibility about race.
Due to how whiteness has been rendered as invisible in our society, much of our training as white people has taught us to see racism as what a person of color can discuss. The current times are showing us more of a multiracial, anti-racist landscape, but I am not confident this momentum will stay unless whites can build our racial literacy. For the purpose of this piece, at times I say them, us, whites and we.
The deficit-thinking model translates into schools when students and teachers of color are labored with the work of keeping whites “woke.” In my experience, whites do not believe they can be experts on race, and that it can actually be racist to believe we can.